Two AFL stars have suffered injuries in Australia’s 10-point triumph against Ireland in Sunday’s International Rules game in Adelaide.
Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury has been sent for x-rays after hurting a finger and Gold Coast’s Pearce Hanley broke a hand playing for Ireland.
Pendlebury’s finger injury is on the opposite hand to the broken finger which forced him out of the last six rounds of the AFL season.
Australian coach Chris Scott admits the injuries will prompt concern in the AFL landscape over the future of International Rules.
“It does. It’s clearly something that is on our mind and I’m sure it’s on the minds of the Irish as well,” Scott said. “But if we want this series to work, we have got to continue to push to get the best players out there.
“And to a man, this is my third series now, every player that has been involved has loved the experience.
“There would be a little bit of surprise amongst those who haven’t been part of it as to how passionate our guys are.
“As far as I can tell the series has the support of the clubs and while it has the support of the clubs and the best players, I think it has got a really bright future.”
Pendlebury is believed to have damaged the top joint of a finger on his left hand, with a diagnosis expected on Monday.
Hanley has been ruled out of the International Rules series finale in Perth next Saturday and faces a likely delayed start to his AFL preseason.
Ireland coach Joe Kernan said such injuries shouldn’t adversely impact on the future of the hybrid sport.
“I don’t think that is a problem,” Kernan said. “This is a special series. Injuries do happen. We have players go home with injuries too and it won’t stop our players looking to play.”
A crowd of 25,502 spectators attended the series opener at Adelaide Oval, watching Nat Fyfe inspire the Australians to victory.
Fyfe kicked a goal and three overs in the 2.13.12 (63) to 1.13.8 (53) win and was instrumental in Australia’s recovery after slipping 10 points down in the second quarter.
“There are always going to be naysayers with whatever you do and this series, it doesn’t attract everyone’s love,” Fyfe said. “But you have got the best of the AFL players in Australia playing and the best Irish players over here so it’s a pretty high level spectacle.
“Any chance that I can to pull on this (Australian) jumper is pretty important.”